Seems like I spent most of my time in Hamburg in Altona – that huge district including the posh suburbs along the north shores of river Elbe as well as the crazy popular Schanzenviertel – Altona’s heart and old city center is located around the station called Altona (you can get here directly by train from Berlin) and has been suffering the same fate as so many other once busy areas after the war. Following almost complete destruction, the city tried to rebuild it as a new commercial center, remodeling it into a shopping area, but tragically failed to revive the old spirits and left the area more or less to rot since the 1970s… before it experienced a new investor’s boom in the last couple years. Today, the main street of Große Bergmannstraße looks like many other shopping strips in former West Germany, same shops, same bakeries, same same. However, it’s also home to a lovely café called Klippkroog, (which didn’t need all this introduction but got it anyway).
Going to Altona to have breakfast when you’re actually staying in the city center of Hamburg seems to be unnecessary at first, however, if I tell you that this is a very fine place to fuel yourself for a beautiful long walk along the shores of river Elbe all the way back to the center, you might get my point.
The café struck me first when I just walked by, huge windows, bright interior, wood and steel furniture, industrial lights… yes, a very contemporary design approach that we’ve all seen before. However, it’s still very pleasing if done well. Add a nice menu of several breakfast options, some fine coffee and I am hooked.
Besides the usual breakfast plates of mixed cheese, cold cuts, breads and jams in either large or small versions, they do have some organic egg specials like my beloved Eier im Glas, two soft boiled eggs in a jar with fresh chives to be seasoned as desired, then blended as desired and smeared on fresh bread (5,20 Euro). Klippkroog serves them with roasted bread and a tomato salsa – I have to note, that the latter is a total mystery for me in winter, when tomatoes expectably don’t taste like much – why wouldn’t one substitute them with a crazy red cabbage slaw or something more seasonal (like Krautchi)? The grilled bread was divine in its crunchiness and sourdough-taste and I ended up finishing the serving of my friend too, seriously considering putting even more butter on it. The website reveals that Klippkroog works with Der Holzofenbäcker (literally the wood-fire-oven-baker) and I am guessing we enjoyed one of their breads.
Furthermore, there’s Arme Ritter, a kind of French toast, with caramelized nuts and home made jam we should have tasted as well because it sounds delicious. But we forgot, although we ended up spending more than one hour on this breakfast (which tells you a lot about the very nice atmosphere of this place as well as about my wonderful companions Melanie and Fabian) before heading down to the river and walk back to the city center, not without picking up a divine Franzbrötchen (a sweet pastry with butter and cinnamon) at Café Schmidt (which looks a lot better than its website suggests…) I returned to Berlin that afternoon, not without – once again – promising to come back to Hamburg soon.